I remember some years ago having a long conversation with a man from my church that had just finished either reading a book or watching a message that had changed his mind about a certain doctrine he had always been taught. This new teaching said that a believer’s past, present and future sins were all forgiven at salvation; therefore, a Christian never had to ask for forgiveness again for the rest of their lives.
While I do understand the fact that as believers we will never have to worry about facing judgment for our sins, one of the verses in our reading today makes it pretty clear to me that we need to have regular confession of sin a vital part of our lives. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I believe it is pretty clear for the context that this verse is written to Christians and here we see very clearly the need for us to “confess our sins.” The word “confess” carries with it the idea of agreeing with God. No excuses, no sugar-coating it. Instead we need to agree with God about the wrong we have done and essentially take His side in how we look at our sin. Of course, this idea also includes the idea of turning from it and wanting God to take that sin away from us.
Then we see the promise of God of forgiveness if we do confess our sins. His promise of forgiveness is based on two things: His faithfulness and justice. Once God makes a promise, He is faithful to keep that promise. If I confess my sins, He will forgive me because He promised to and will be faithful to that promise. Secondly, it is only just for Him to forgive my sins. This idea for a long time baffled me. Why does it say God would be just to forgive me of my sins? He doesn’t owe me anything, does He? Think about the basis of our forgiveness. It’s on the finished work of Christ on the cross. So because the price of my sin was paid for on Calvary, it is only just for God to forgive my sins when I confess them. Now that’s some justice to be thankful for!